Boston Public Library
Teens

April Snow Showers bring… Poetry!

by bplteenintern

I’d like to begin by saying, ‘Hello!’ I’m Maggie, and I’m a new intern at the Teen Room in Copley. I’ll be hanging out Tuesdays and Fridays, so if you’re in the room, you’ll definitely see me helping out where I can.

Since April is National Poetry Month, it seems like now is an appropriate time to share some poems, new and old, that for one reason or another, are Awesome. We’re going to start off with a suggestion by one teen, Alex. And so, I present to you Still I Rise, by the wonderful poet Maya Angelou.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The power in those words, huh?! Incredible. My favorite line is “with the certainty of tides.” I love the idea that the speaker’s willpower is a force of nature just like the tide. If you like this, feel free to check out other poetry of Angelou’s here. And if you have a favorite poem, leave a comment so we can post it later this month.

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